Don’t think for a second that I didn’t worry the second he grabbed the handle bars and threw his leg over my custom painted baby. After all, the whole reason he entered the pits was because he crashed and bent his derailleur hanger. I questioned myself immediately. None of our other teammates were quick to offer their bikes. I wanted to run back through the woods to the back side of the course to make sure it’d be okay. That’s crazy talk though. What was I going to do? Throw my body under the bike in-case he washed out on the downhill pavement to grass turn? Tell him to watch the rock and roots in the singletrack? Make him wait in the pits while I swapped the $2000 Zipp wheels for something more Jimmy Road Rash appropriate like a three-cross open pro? Sheeeeet. The reason I handed him my bike instead of making him finish out the race on his 20 pound Ultegra/105 equipped Redline with three operable gears is because prior to his mishap he was laying down the law on OVCX fast guys like Phil Noble, Jacob Virosko, Sam Dobrozi, and Jason Karew on a 20 pound Ultegra/105 equipped Redline.
|Jimmy behind at OVCX Infirmary Mound|
Granted Phil, Jacob and Jason were on their 2nd race of the day, but racing is racing. Ask anybody around the Columbus Ohio venue if Phil and Jason could spank Jimmy even if it was their 2nd race and I’m pretty sure the answer prior to yesterday would’ve been a unanimous yes. However, Jimmy Road Rash was in the money in an Elite race. No longer was he fighting not to get lapped by the Bike Reg pro’s, he was closing gaps, dropping guys and racing mid-pack Elite. Before his misstep, he had systematically closed the 30 meter gap to and dropped every one of the guys listed above. For the first time I can recall, the rider formally known as Jimmy Road Rash was looking at an Elite cyclocross payout. He’s fast. He also needs the money.
|Jimmy at Gun Club OVCX|
That’s always been my worry with Jimmy. Like many riders new to the sport. Sometimes your enthusiasm and strength grow faster than your skills, experience and knowledge. That’s when you loose teeth and skin. That’s when other riders leave a little extra room when they’re on your wheel. Sure you’re fast…fast enough to drive yourself straight into a tree, fast enough to grab a handful of brake rather than soft pedal, fast enough to not think that a covered bridge may have 3 inch gaps between it’s 135 year old hand-cut decking. That’s why you keep riding a beat-up 20 pound Redline with 105. That’s why you sell the parts off the Trek Madone frame you destroyed on a covered bridge to your buddy Joe. You crash. Replace. Repeat.
|Jimmy @ Mohican 100|
However, it’s been a long time since Jimmy’s bit it. It’s been a long time since Jimmy sold the Sram Force derailleur from the Madone to me. It’s been a long time since I put that derailleur on the very bike I just handed off to him. He’s finally at that point where I hear about his mishaps less than I hear about those from more experienced riders. Besides, at the USGP a few weeks ago when I broke my seatpost, in a pit exchange that was ultra pro smooth, he handed me his 20 pound 105 equipped Redline so I could finish out my race. Eventually, what goes around comes around, even if it’s a gorgeous $5000 Indy Fab Planet X.